Are lawyers about to disappear from the high street? Are we going to have to introduce different ways to deliver legal advice – by email or telephone? Is it going to become an expensive luxury to actually sit down face-to-face with a solicitor?
The Co-operative Society have recently announced that it has recruited 3,000 high street family lawyers without saying what that might mean for those high street practices. If they are lost from the high street, what does that mean for the future of family law? Is it going to become an unaffordable luxury to actually meet with a family lawyer face-to-face? Are you going to have to deal with your very personal problems over the telephone and via email only? Do people actually need that personal contact? I think they do. I think it is actually very difficult to give help and advice without being able to physically see the person to whom you are speaking. It is difficult to gauge how someone is feeling on voice alone and who wants to discuss very personal matters over the telephone?
Once you have had that initial meeting and established a relationship it is much easier to then go on and deal with matters over the telephone or via email and obviously email has the benefit of a potentially instant response.
Hopefully, high street family lawyers are not going to go the same way as HMV, Jessops or Peacocks.
I was actually cheered recently to hear of a potential tie up between Waterstones and Amazon. Amazon has surely been responsible for the demise of many high street book shops but now realises that they need book shops for their own survival. Without book shops to browse in, without the ability to pick up, look, feel, touch – in other words consider – a book, people are far less likely to buy one online. So in future you might be browsing in Waterstones and then from within the store make your purchase online via Amazon.
I think there is hope for a personal legal service to continue – it costs a lot less than you think.